When most people think of nursing home abuse or neglect, the image is often dramatized. Not all forms of abuse or neglect will show up in bruising, starvation or an obviously miserable loved one. Some signs are much more subtle.
Pressure ulcers may serve as one of these more subtle signs. Though you might not notice them at first, they can be a tiny indicator of a big problem.
Where do they occur?
Mayo Clinic takes a look at pressure ulcers, an ailment that often affects the bed-bound. This is why they have the nickname “bedsores”. It can also affect anyone who stays in a wheelchair for too long. Pressure ulcers form when part of the body lies still against a hard or solid surface for too long. Thus, bony parts of the body are most likely to form these ulcers, such as the tailbone, hips, knees, heels and elbows.
What are they like?
Pressure ulcers often look like blisters, accompanied by redness and swelling. They come in different degrees of severity, and sometimes they can extend all the way down to the bone. Many are the size of dimes or pennies, but some can grow to much larger sizes, too. These ulcers will often heal given proper treatment and time, but some never heal fully.
If you notice pressure ulcers on a loved one at a nursing home, it is often a sign of neglect. It means your loved one got left in a wheelchair for too long, or did not receive any help in adjusting their position while in bed. It often occurs due to understaffing, but neglect is neglect.